It’s been pretty slow this past week for a couple of reasons. First, Jeff Barber was on vacation with his family at Disney World. Secondly, most of the coaches Barber will be targeting had either won their conference tournament and were waiting for the NCAA Tournament, or they were competing in conference tournaments.
Things should start heating up this week and next with teams being eliminated and other coaching positions opening, evidenced by a pretty busy last 24 hours. Here is what we are hearing and what has happened since our last update:
- Ryan Mantlo has expressed his interest in the job. The Liberty alum was part of the 2004 Big South Championship team and has been the head coach at Cape Fear Community College the past 8 seasons. He has sent several players to Division I programs including Tavares Speaks. It will, however, be difficult for Mantlo to get the job based on the other candidates.
- As we mentioned in our original list of 12 names to keep an eye on, we need to keep an eye on coaches who are fired. Anthony Grant (Alabama) and Paul Hewitt (George Mason) are the first two that come to mind.
- A couple points that we have been told repeatedly by several different contacts, some of which has been mentioned previously: First and foremost, Barber wants a head coach that has been successful at the mid-major level.
- Additionally, there are plenty of high-major assistants who have shown interest. A few examples include coaches from Texas, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgetown, and Baylor.
- Finally, there is some pressure on Barber to make the right hire, obviously. Because of this, he is going to do his best to reduce the amount of risk he is willing to take with any potential hire. This is why he’s looking for someone who has head coaching experience that has been successful at previous stops.
- The first name publicly mentioned by any national media outlet, is Bobby Lutz, who was mentioned by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and HoopDirt.com. We also had Lutz on our initial list of 12 names to keep an eye on. According to a source, as of Tuesday evening, Liberty had not reached out to Lutz.
- It also sounds like Jeff Meyer is under strong consideration.
- Hopefully some names will start emerging as finalists in the next week.
Check LibertyFlamesNation.com frequently throughout the coaching search as we will provide weekly updates, at the minimum.